The frequency and intensity of natural disaster seems of late to have amped up radically.
Nightly we hear of twisters wrecking cities like angry children toppling Lego creations. Wildfires devouring giant chunks of forest like voracious wolves on a carcass. Draught sucking the water of life from huge landscapes like cosmic vampires on a night of terror.
Hailstones the size of baseballs; blizzards that create whiteouts; floods that seem to demand an Ark. And most tragic, the wreckage of human life and economic cost as the maniacal legacy of nature at its worst.
Now before you go all apocalyptic on me, I am not talking about “end time birth pains”. I will leave that discussion to people who understand (or think they do) the end of the world much better.
Climate change? I’ll let the scientists, mad or otherwise, pontificate in that debate.
The reason this recent outbreak of natural disasters has my attention is mainly because they are so often referred to as “acts of God”. Even legal and liability documentation adopts this language.
I wonder why God gets the ‘credit’ only when catastrophic, destructive things happen.
It seems few ever refer to a sunrise as an act of God. Or a flower in bloom; a butterfly escaping its silky birthing room; a foal galloping within minutes of entering the planet; a waterfall cascading down the mountainside leaving rainbows in its wake.
God seldom gets the credit when a baby is born; an aged one celebrates a hundred years; a survivor makes a comeback from cancer; a victim recovers from lifelong addiction.
Are these not “acts of God”?
God gets the blame for disasters because the common and accepted view of Him is a vengeful, angry, vindictive Being intent on payback for all the stuff man has done to Him and His creation.
But then He throws a monkey-wrench into that whole equation.
He shows up in our world and announces…“if you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”
Now people generally like Jesus. They see Him as kind, good, compassionate, caring, generous and selfless.
But we seem to find it nearly impossible to see His Father that way. We dart back into the Old Testament and pull out passages where God seems to find pleasure in wreaking havoc on people and justify our theology of divine malevolence.
But then there is Jesus again saying “Hey guys…He is like me!”
Well, either God is seriously schizophrenic, has a manic-depressive personality disorder…or we have seriously and severely misjudged Him.
Jesus did not come to earth to live and die in order to change God’s mind about man…He simply came to finally and accurately reveal it.
And it is interesting…He was first discovered by the lowest and lowliest. I think it was because He didn’t want the elite to treat the good news as a hand-out for the less fortunate.
The good news is for ALL the people.
And the good news is that God absolutely adores you and He is not mad at you at all.
He has designed a meaningful, significant life for every human being. He desires that we pursue and embrace that life–and He delights when we, even haltingly and imperfectly, live that life in our real world.
When a person finds relief from the pressure and pain of a broken world and is released into the passion and purpose of life as He designed…then you begin to see “acts of God”.
Loved people love people. They step into lives decimated by calamity and offer food, shelter, support and hope.
People who have truly experienced the Good News that God is “like” Jesus, will take on natural disasters, human tragedies, painful histories, political maladies and social inequities with a fervor unmatched since the Cross.
Jesus called them “greater things than I do.”
We sure could use a few more of those “acts of God” right now.